More lateral thinking

October 11, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Look at this picture and tell me what you see first. . . do you see a young woman or an old woman?

Usually, you have to point out the other perspective before someone sees it. This is the problem with most people when they brainstorm. Once you’re adept at looking at a certain situation in a certain way, it’s hard to break free. Traditional brainstorming reiterates the same existing patterns and perceptions and only change them in a minor way. This does not lead to breakthroughs! Most people don’t know that they do this though. . . they’re trapped in a cognitive jail and don’t know it.

One of the ways to break free from the jail is to be purposely absurd. IE: find a random word and crossing it with your problem. The more outlandish, the better. Then run an experiment with that random word. It’s usually a waste of time, of course, but occasionally it leads to surprising results and unanticipated consequences. Once you look at it and say “hmmm, that’s funny. . .”, you run with it. This helps discover aspects about the problem that are not immediately obvious.

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